Early voting turnout reached usual levels

Published 6:53 pm Monday, March 14, 2016

The early voting period in Beaufort County resulted in 3,553 voters marking ballots between March 3 and Saturday, according to statistics from the Beaufort County Board of Elections.

“That’s about average,” said Anita Bullock Branch, the county’s deputy director of elections, on Monday afternoon.

During the early voting period for today’s primaries, there were no voter ID issues, Branch said. “I hope that means will go smoothly (today),” she said.

As of Saturday, Beaufort County had 32,185 registered voters, meaning 11 percent of those voters marked ballots during the early voting period.

Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. today. Voters will help choose political parties’ presidential nominees to county-commissioner nominees. Those nominees, unless unopposed, face challengers in the Nov. 8 general election.

More Republicans (1,997) voted during the early voting period than Democrats (1,546), Libertarians (5) and unaffiliated voters (5), according to board figures. During that period, more women (1,858) voted than men (1,646), with the gender of 49 voters undetermined.

Most early voters were white (2,859), followed by blacks (610), undetermined (50), other (15). Multiracial (9), Asian (6) and Native Americans (4), according to board data.

Most of the ballots marked during the early voting period were marked at the board’s office in Washington, where 2,707 voters made decisions. The satellite office in Chocowinity was next in line with 405 voters, followed by Belhaven with 162 voters and Aurora with 148 voters. Civilians sent in 120 absentee ballots, with military personnel sending in four ballots. There were seven voters who are overseas and sent in ballots.

Though some primary ballots for Republican voters (depending on where they live) include Arthur Williams as a candidate for the 6th District seat in the North Carolina House of Representatives, he is not a candidate, but some voters may not be aware of that. Part of Beaufort County is in District 6. In January, Williams withdrew from the GOP primary because of personal reasons, but he withdrew after the ballots were printed.

Primaries for candidates seeking election to the U.S. House of Representatives are scheduled for June 7. Those primaries had been set for Tuesday, but the North Carolina General Assembly had to redraw congressional district maps after a federal three-judge panel ruled that the state’s 1st and 12th districts were unconstitutional because race was used in setting their boundaries.

Also, voters will participate in a statewide referendum to decide if the state will issue $2 billion in bonds to fund improvements to the state’s university system, community college system, National Guard and for other infrastructure needs.

Boards of elections are scheduled to canvass ballots March 22.

The results of races in Beaufort County and statewide may be viewed after the polls close today by visiting http://www.beaufortncboe.org and clicking on the two links provided under the “election results” heading.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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